The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian--who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture on the New York society scene and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps build a world-class collection.
But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white--her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths to which she must go--for the protection of her family and her legacy--to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.
Marie Benedict is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a commercial litigator at two of the country's premier law firms. While practicing as a NYC lawyer, Marie dreamed of a fantastical job unearthing the hidden historical stories of women -- and finally found it when she tried her hand at writing. She embarked on a new, thematically connected series of historical fiction excavating the stories of important, complex and fascinating women from the past with THE OTHER EINSTEIN, which tells the tale of Albert Einstein's first wife, a physicist herself, and the role she might have played in his theories. She then released CARNEGIE'S MAID, the story of a brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie toward philanthropy, followed by the NYTimes bestseller THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM, the tale of the Golden Age of Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr who made a world-changing invention, and LADY CLEMENTINE about Winston Churchill's wife. Her latest book -- THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE -- focuses on the real-life disappearance of Agatha Christie and the role it played in shaping her into the world's most successful novelist.